Looking Back to the Start -
Did we get it right?
This week Ben Black reminisces about the beginnings of the Good Care Guide
In the last week I've had the privilege of spending time with some very successful business leaders; or more accurately I spent a couple of hours with, John Woodward of Busy Bees fame, Britain's most successful childcare entrepreneur; and I was part of a large crowd that was berated by Alan Leighton at the Women's Business Forum.
It has me thinking about our own businesses, most specifically Good Care Guide.
In our own way we've been very successful at building businesses, first Tinies, and more recently My Family Care. Earlier this year we launched our latest venture, Good Care Guide (most easily understood as a Trip Advisor for the child and eldercare industries).
We got a few things right:
- Gap in the market that needed filling - tick
- Successfully built and developed a website that provides a valuable service - tick
- Good PR - tick
Working well with the various other parties involved -
United for All Ages, Ofsted, CQC - tick
- Identified a great individual to run and develop the business - Rhiannon Freeland - tick
- Childcare industry excited and supportive of what we’re doing - tick
- Revenue generating from the get-go - tick
But we got a fair few things wrong as well:
- Did we launch the website too quickly? Probably, we are already well into the re-skinned version 2 in less than a year
- Was the eldercare industry ready for this kind of transparency? Not really, care homes are terrified of what people may say
- Are people more litigious than we thought? Definitely, this is why the care homes are not totally comfortable with the idea
- Is there any competition? Yes, although it seemed to emerge from the woodwork as soon as we launched!
As my brother said when we got involved - it's a good idea and the fact that we have neither time nor money has never stopped us before.
What we learned
And the business lessons? It always seems to me that if you have a half decent plan and you throw enough time, energy and enthusiasm at it you will create something of value in the end.
We're not good enough to find the shortcuts to success that I always read about; but we are just about good enough, thankfully, to avoid making the same mistakes twice. Meanwhile, if you have ever used a nursery, nanny agency, care agency or care home you're cordially invited to leave your comments here!